Monday, January 28, 2008

The Skin Gods by Richard Montanari

Skin Gods by Richard Montanari
Ballatine Books, 2006
Crime Fiction S/T; 395 pgs

Started: 01/02/2008
Completed: 01/09/2008
Rating: * (Very Good)

First Sentence: “What I really want to do is direct.”

Reason for Reading: Richard Montanari caught my attention with The Rosary Girls three years ago, and I was eager to read another one of his books. This seemed like good bedtime reading in between War and Peace and Breathless in Bombay.

Comments: There comes a moment in every crime novel when everything falls into place and I know. Sometimes is happens sooner than at other times, but it is rare when a book takes me by complete surprise. I do not intentionally set out to solve the crime on my own, however, it is the direction my mind automatically takes as soon as I begin reading a crime fiction novel. Of course, there are occasions where the author introduces the killer or villain right off the bat and his or her identity is not a mystery. The motive and the chase then become the mystery. I will let you decide which category this particular book falls into.

Detective Kevin Byrne is recovering from a near fatal head injury and is not sure he wants to return to the force. However, when he learns that the killer who almost took his life is out pending an appeal, he figures the best place for him to be is back in the trenches of the Philadelphia Police Department’s homicide unit. His timing could not be more perfect.

Detective Byrne, his partner Detective Jessica Balzano, and FBI agent Terry Cahill are assigned to discover whether or not they have a new murder to investigate. A popular horror movie had been spliced and what appeared to be a real life murder scene inserted at a crucial point in the film. With little to go on, the two detectives have their work cut out for them. One murder leads to another, each proving to be more gruesome than the one before. The detectives are determined to find the common thread between the murders in order to stop the killer in his tracks. The investigation takes the police into the underbelly of pornography and the glitzy world of a Hollywood movie.

Like with The Rosary Girls, Robert Montanari has swept me off his feet with this thrilling novel full of suspense and intrigue. Jessica Balzano has grown up a lot since she first joined the homicide team and it shows in The Skin Gods. She is competent and strong and not afraid to kick ass when necessary. She is loyal to her partner and dedicated to her job. Her partner, Kevin Byrne, is a little worse for wear. He has been through a lot and it shows. He is a papa bear who will protect those who he loves at any cost, including risking his own good name and possibly his life.

The Skin Gods had me on the edge of my seat with my hand over my mouth right up until the end. I am looking forward to reading the author's next book, Merciless.

Visit Richard Montanari's official website for more information about the author and his books.


  1. Sounds like an author I would really enjoy. I'll be looking for his books next time I'm at the bookstore.

  2. Wow...thanks for the great review!

    I will definitely be adding this author to my TBR list.

  3. Nice blog and nice reviews. I'm enjoying myself here.


  4. That's my kind of book. I'll definitely be checking it out.


  5. That defonitely looks like something I would enjoy and I am going to put it on my wishlist. Thanks for another great review!

  6. Sounds good! I'll have to add him to my list.

  7. This sounds like an excellent suspense story!! I am definitely going to add it to my wish list!
    I have to tell you - after hearing that you are reading War and Peace and that you were liking it, I ended up grabbing a copy at B&N yesterday! LOL! The version that I picked up is a translation by Constance Garnett. After browsing through that one, I thought I would enjoy its language and writing better. Which version are you reading? I had no idea there were so many different translations!

  8. This definitely sounds like one great suspense story I want to read! I will have to look out for this one. Thanks for the great review, Wendy!

  9. JMC, Amy, CJ, Jaimie, Nicola & Melody - I just finished my third book by him and will be posting that review eventually. If you can, I recommend reading The Rosary Girls before you try The Skin Gods for background purposes. I hope you enjoy the books if you do decide to try them!

    Oneyeka - Thank you so much! And thank you for visiting.

    April - I hope you will enjoy the book--both War and Peace and The Skin Gods. :-)

    I have the latest translation of War and Peace, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I read their translation of Anna Karenina and was really impressed.

  10. This sounds really good... I bought one of his books recently but now I'm wondering if it's the first one in the series. I thought they were standalones. So I have to make sure I start off with the right one. Yes, I get a bit picky about that :)

  11. I don't read many crime novels, but I know what you mean about solving the crime in your head. It's always lovely when a book completely surprises you and takes you in a different direction to what you were expecting. Sounds like a great book!

  12. Iliana - Which one did you get, Iliana? Merciless, his third book in the series, can stand alone fairly well on its own. You could probably read this one on its own, but as a person who likes to read series in order if I can, I wouldn't. While they both can stand alone, there's continuing characters that you might want to have the background of going from one to the other.

    Rhinoa - I so often solve the mystery long before the author discloses the truth and so it's a real treat when I end up being surprised. :-)


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